It’s time to hit the high seas again at last as Marauders finds some of the fun that it started off with so many issues again, in an issue that also feels overly stuffed with plot elements it’s trying to churn through as quickly as possible. One can’t go wrong with a big bombastic man of ice versus an alien dragon as the action centerpiece, brought to vivid life by the wonderful art team, even if some of the rest of the issue falls a bit flatter.
At the very beginning, Marauders was billed as the book where we would see some black market “pirate” sort of stuff while also having a team that would spend their time-saving mutants around the world to ferry them to Krakoa. Honestly, it’s been quite some time since the books has had that high seas adventure sort of feeling.
A lot of that got lost during the very very long Madripoor storyline (while still dabbling a bit) and then the various event tie-ins and then the sort of wandering genre/cast shuffling stories we’ve had since the Hellfire Gala. Marauders #26 manages to find a middle spot where it returns to that high seas adventure feeling while also somehow still maintaining that feeling that it’s just treading water waiting for what comes next.
We already know what is coming next, a new creative team led by writer Steve Orlando will take over the title in January with a mostly new cast and a return to that aforementioned mutant rescue mission. As the clock ticks closer to that new run, it’s hard not to feel that some of the stuff that Gerry Duggan is tackling within these last issues is just him checking off things on a bucket list for the book before turning it over.
That’s not to say that this is not a good overall issue, quite the opposite mostly. There is some big stuff that allows Iceman to really finally fully cut loose after him and others have spent most of this book in Kate Pryde, Emma Frost, and Sebastian Shaw’s shadows. Watching Bobby live up to his Omega level designation and kick Fin Fang Foom’s big scaly drunk behind is worth the book cost alone.
On the other hand, the stuff with Leland and the teases to Chantel and the big “reveal” about Shinobi Shaw’s parentage, while interesting in some regards, fills that bucket list feeling. The Leland stuff was interesting in some regards but then the whole thing where a forgotten about plot point and years of fan theories about him and Shinobi is just thrust into the issue out of nowhere after we haven’t seen much of Shinobi for quite some time.
It’s like Duggan recalled that there are a few issues left at some point and began trying to fit in everything that had been slow burn teased over this whole series life. From the Star Wars homage last two issues to the Banshee and Tempo issue before that to this one.
This isn’t a bad thing, sometimes one must move plans up when overall plans change or an exit is decided upon, but it has led to the feeling that this book (and it’s not alone in the line) is a bit aimless overall at the moment. Hopefully, the big changes to come to the entire line bring some of the focus and direction back to the various books, along with keeping stuff fun like this issue mostly is.
Matteo Lolli and Rain Bredo return to tackle the artistic duties after missing three and two issues respectively. They are still a solid duo on this book, and easily are able to give the first pages a retro look before diving into the gorgeousness of Krakoa and all the dynamic energy of the Foom/Iceman fight. Those fight pages especially stand out because they take place in that magical time of day where day and night are meeting, and the gorgeous oranges and yellows and purples in the sky are a great background for this epic fight.
Lolli does good emotion/facial expression work, and we get to see quite a bit of that here from the various cast members, and the guests. Overall, there is a very light but also heavy feeling to the art and colors, that fits with the mostly fun aspects of this issue, but also with some of the more somber or serious moments too.
While others have shifted in and out, Cory Petit is still onboard keeping the lettering flowing across these many issues. There is a lot done in this issue to showcase different types of dialogue, shifting around balloon styles and font styles, and a lot of big (fitting for some of the subjects of the story) loud SFX dotting the pages.
Marauders #26 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.